HOW SOUTHCARE IS MANAGING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Southcare is managing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as a priority. We have been swift and vigilant in our actions to mitigate your risk and maximise your safety.  We have zero confirmed cases.

We recognise this may be an unsettling time for some, but rest assured we are continually monitoring the evolving situation.

And, while our office doors may be temporarily closed, we are still very much open.   As an essential service, our in-home care is continuing in this new era of protection and connection.  Feedback from our customers, families, volunteers and employees has been excellent as we unite to protect our most vulnerable community members.

We continue to take advice from the Department of Health at a Federal and State level as well as the World Health Organisation and are updating this page with changes as they occur to ensure transparency with our customers and their families.

Additional measures Southcare has put in place are as follows:

  • regularly washing hands with soap and water as well as extra hygiene including using gloves, masks and self-supplied paper towels to dry hands when providing personal care as well as reducing social contact (i.e. handshake or embrace) when visiting immediately reporting any concerns for customers health, and prioritising those who show signs of cold or flu-like symptoms immediately notifying employees to monitor their personal health, undertake medical assessments and self-quarantine as required
  • daily meetings amongst our Response Team in line with our Coronavirus Response Plan
  • launching a communications plan with regular updates and signage placed in high traffic areas so that awareness and consideration of all Southcarers (and visitors to our offices) remains a priority
  • surveying all staff, volunteers, contractors and customers regarding travel history and upcoming plans to ascertain any level of risk
  • temporarily closing our Op Shop
  • cancelling all events at Southcare Central, including the hire of the area by external parties
  • undertaking appropriate social distancing within the office and when visiting customers at home, as well as reducing movement between buildings and office floors
  • prioritising emails and phonecalls over face-to-face meetings, with both internal and external teams
  • cleaning with disinfectant every hour – including office areas (phones, keyboards, workstations, door handles, light switches and any common area) as well as company vehicles and support worker personal vehicles and communal kitchen areas
  • removing tea towels from the Southcare Central kitchen and employee kitchens in favour of single use paper towels
  • setting limits on the number of people to be in a meeting room at any one time, cleaning rooms after all meetings and enforcing appropriate social distancing during all meetings (i.e. keeping an empty chair in between others when sat around the table, and moving back away from the table)
  • successfully implementing work-from-home arrangements and putting plans in place to source appropriate IT devices for those that need access or equipment, and adopting rotating working from home arrangements with key teams
  • offering our volunteers the option to defer their service with us (heartwarmingly, the majority have said they will continue) and communicating with them about their obligations moving forward
  • accepting only contactless or online payment options for our customers and wearing gloves when handling cash
  • working with Amcal Community Pharmacy who have offered changes to our delivery services to meet the changing clinical needs of our patients. Customers can now email amcalcomo@westnet.com.au or fax 9367 9782 a copy of their required prescription/s and order other items stocked by the pharmacy for then to deliver

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is Southcare trained in managing Coronavirus?

Yes, all employees have completed mandatory training issued by the Department of Health. The training was robust and covered all aspects of managing COVID-19 with particular emphasis on aged care services and infection control to protect customers, their families and Southcare employees.

Does Southcare have an emergency response plan for COVID-19?

Yes and we have activated that and as circumstances change in this fast-paced environment, the plan is updated. The plan ensures the health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, staff and volunteers are maximised.  It also means we are taking action to mitigate community spread.

Should I cancel my service?

There is no need to cancel services. We are an essential service and continue to deliver excellent care in this new era of protection and connection. We have zero cases and continue to be vigilant to keep it that way.  All the necessary and proper procedures are in place to ensure the highest level of protection for customers and staff.

If you or a loved one have been allocated services, it is because you or they need them.  If you stop the service, it will have an impact on your well being and at this time it is important to maintain a quality and healthy lifestyle, albeit with a heightened sense of responsibility.

Read more about why the Federal Government recommends you should keep your home care, including advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer.

Does Southcare have sufficient Personal Protective Equipment?

Yes, our infection control procedures are vigorous and our front line teams are all equipped with gloves, masks, gowns and eye masks, as well as necessary cleaning and hygiene products including single use paper towels to dry hands. We have been fortunate to receive additional supplies of PPE from the Rotary Club of Como and members of our local community ensuring our team will be suitably protected during home care visits.  Read more about our PPE resources on the Southcare blog.

What about the flu vaccination?

All Southcare staff and volunteers have up-to-date flu vaccinations.

How can I connect?

We suggest videochats, phonecalls and contact that respects the current social gathering and social distancing guidelines. You can still see and speak to your loved ones. There has never been a more important time to connect in this socially isolating season.  Read more about how we are being a good neighbour on the Southcare blog.

We also recommend that you call the free support line (1800 171 866) which has been set up for our senior Australians, their families and carers for COVID-19.  The support line operates Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 8.30am and 6pm.  It’s so important to connect right now, ask the questions and look after each other and our mental health.

You can also follow the daily updates on the Australian Government Department of Health website, www.health.gov.au or call the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080.

Is help available in other languages?

Yes, information on COVID-19 has been translated into 63 different languages.  You can access resources including fact sheets, guidelines and other publications from the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Page last updated 20 May 2020.

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